Another Year is Dawning

by Nick Laninga


This is my favorite hymn to call it a year. Thank God for His unfailing love, grace and mercies. May the coming year be one that we live pleasing unto Him.

C.S. Lewis said “ The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” He also said for every newly published book we read we should pick up and read an old book. He said this as thoughts and attitudes change and not always for the better. So digging through my bookshelves I ran across a devotional, “Streams in the Desert “, by Mrs. Chas. E. Cowman copyright 1925. I offer the entry from December 31 for our reflection.

December 31 “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” [ I Samuel 7:12 ]

The word “hitherto” seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet “ hitherto has the Lord helped us!” Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health; at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea; in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation—“hitherto hath the Lord helped!”

     We delight to look down a long avenue of trees. It is delightful to gaze from one end of the long vista, a sort of verdant temple, with its branching pillars and its arches of leaves. Even so look down the long aisles of your years, at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of lovingkindness and faithfulness which bear up your joys.

     Are there no birds in yonder branches singing? Surely, there must be many, and they sing of mercy received “hitherto.” But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark, and writes “hitherto” he is not yet at the end; there are still distances to be traversed . More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more victories; and then comes sickness, old age, disease, and death.

     Is it over now? No! there is more yet—-awakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment, the face of Jesus, the saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Oh, be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thine “Ebenezer,” for “He who hath helped thee hitherto will help thee all thy journey through.

     When read in Heaven’s light, how glorious and marvelous a prospect will thy “hitherto” unfold to thy grateful eye. C.H. Spurgeon.

     The Alpine shepherds have a beautiful custom of ending the day by singing to one another an evening farewell. The air is so crystalline that the song will carry long distances. As the dusk begins to fall, they gather their flocks and begin to lead them down the mountain paths, singing, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us. Let us praise His name!” And at last with a sweet courtesy, they sing the friendly farewell; “Goodnight! Goodnight!” The words are taken up by the echoes and from side to side the song goes reverberating sweetly and softly until the music dies away in the distance. P.S. I did not verify this with Hans W.

     So let us call out to one another through the darkness, till the gloom becomes vocal with many voices, encouraging the pilgrim host. Let the echoes gather till a very storm of Hallelujahs break in thundering waves around the sapphire throne, and then as morning breaks we shall find ourselves at the margin of the sea of glass, singing, with the redeemed host, “Blessing and honor and glory be unto him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever!”

     “This my song through endless ages, Jesus lead me all the way.”


Have a blessed New Year. The Laninga’s




Ascension Day 2017

shared by Nick and Diana Laninga

Today marks Ascension Day, the fortieth day of Easter. It would be good to reflect on the importance of this day with some appropriate text, verse and song as Christ returned to heaven.

“And He led them as far as Bethany, and He lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven” [Luke 24: 50-51].

W.H. Griffith Thomas rightly claims that the ascension is not only a great historical fact of the New Testament, but a great factor in the life of Christ and Christians, since it marked the consummation of His redemptive work. What a fitting climax was expressed when He ascended not a single promise was unfulfilled.

As J Oswald Sanders states “ He left His own in the very act of blessing. For this He had come, and blessing He departed, not as a condemning judge but as a compassionate friend and High Priest, with hands outstretched.”

Golden harps are sounding,
Angel voices sing,
Pearly gates are opened,
Opened for the King;
Christ, the King of glory,
Jesus, King of love Is gone up in triumph
To His throne above.
~F.R. HAVERGAL. [Author of “Take my life and let it be.”

Christ’s redemptive work is complete—the incarnation, crucifixion, and the ascension was a complete and final demonstration that His atonement had forever solved the problem of man’s sin.

If the Christ who had died had stopped at the cross, His work had been incomplete,
If the Christ that was buried had stayed in the tomb, He had only known defeat.
But the way of the cross never stops at the cross, and the way of the tomb leads on
To victorious grace in the heavenly place where the risen Lord has gone.
~Poem by ANNIE JOHNSON FLINT. [Author of “He giveth more grace”]

The gift of the Holy Spirit was dependent on His glorification.”The Holy Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified

Now the comforter has come and abides with us.
The Lord ascendeth up on high,
The Lord hath triumphed gloriously,
In power and might excelling;
The grave and hell are captive led,
Lo He returns, our glorious Head,
To His eternal dwelling.

The heavens with joy receive their LORD,
By saints, by angel hosts adored; O day of exultation!
O earth, adore thy glorious King! His rising, His ascension sing with grateful adoration.
Our great High Priest has gone before, Now on His church His grace to pour,
And still His love He giveth;
O may our hearts to Him ascend, may all within us upward tend
To Him who ever liveth.


Why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus who was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.

Please read song 291 in the Trinity Hymnal”:

Have a blessed Ascension Day. The Laningas


Names of God: Father

Everlasting Father
by Nate Gibson
For a child is born to us,

    a son is given to us.

The government will rest on his shoulders.

    And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (New International Version)
Shortly before my daughter was born in February, a friend told me that becoming a father would profoundly change the way that I understood the image of God as “the Father”. Intellectually, this made sense to me, and I tried to imagine ahead of time what that change might feel like. Nothing could have prepared me for the reality, though.

I will never forget the moment I first held my daughter–the relief, the joy, the excitement and trepidation, all rolled up into one overwhelming wave. I didn’t pause then to reflect on how my understanding of God as Father changed, but such moments have hit with startling clarity many times over the past five weeks.

I know full well my own imperfections and weakness, but my infant daughter is, as all infants are, physically weak; incapable of acting on her own behalf. I am the strong party in the father-infant dynamic, and am reminded of this with every helpless cry, every bath-time, every dirty diaper.

My daughter cannot change herself, bathe herself, feed herself, or even roll over on her own just yet. She is completely reliant on my wife and myself.

Of course, this will change. Soon enough, she’ll be rolling over, then sitting up, then crawling, then walking and talking. Our support will be crucial for her to grow out of her infancy and into maturity, but the day will come when we will no longer be there for her.

Consider, then, the image of Jesus as Everlasting Father. We are the infants in this relationship: weak, helpless, incapable of saving ourselves. As with physical infancy, our spiritual infancy is not something we are able to outgrow on our own. Apart from the Father, we would wither, and our cries would go unheeded.

Instead, we are cared for by the Father whose constancy infinitely surpasses my own, or that of any other earthly father; the Father who paradoxically became an infant, weak and helpless, so that He could die for our sins; the Father who sanctifies us, not only for a few short decades, but eternally.

Ever and Always

From Pastor Matheis

Wiser Lake Chapel Lenten Reflections

Long years ago, on a deep winter night.
High in the heavens, a star shone bright.
While in the manger, a wee baby lay.
Sweetly asleep, on a bed of hay.

Jesus our lord, was that baby so small.
Lay down to sleep, in a humble stall.
Then came the star, and it stood over head.
Shedding its light, ’round his little head.

Dear baby Jesus, how tiny thou art.
I’ll make a place, for thee in my heart.
And when the stars, in the heavens I see.
Ever and always, I’d think of thee…
~Alfred Burt “The Star Carol”

    When our oldest children were small we always had some music playing. We chose the records carefully as  we wanted the children to develop an ear for good, sound and suitable music. There was classical, semi classical, hymns and popular songs with suitable lyrics. When the Christmas season came…

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Anticipating Advent 2016


Advent’s the poetry.  Advent’s the strange deeds that led up to the Great Deed.  Advent is the power of the mystery that from the beginning stretches through the immortality of Elijah straight out into time, into Transfiguration, into Easter.  Advent is all these things.

Ultimately, Advent is the grand narrative.  It’s the one that makes us Christian.  It’s the one that ties it all together.  This is what we wait for.  This is what comes.  Amen.
~Phyllis Tickle


For a fifth year in a row, Wiser Lake Chapel folks will be sharing here the anticipation we all feel as we prepare our church body, our homes and our hearts for Christmas.  The first Sunday in Advent is November 27th so please consider this a call for writings to be posted here beginning that day, averaging 150-200 words each.

This year the theme is “Anticipating Advent” — share a special Bible verse that helps you prepare for Christmas, perhaps an Old Testament prophecy, or a hymn or carol that is meaningful to you, or a poem or quote or a story from your own life.  Please let me know you want to reserve one of the 29 days of Advent and send your writing to






From an old Chapel Bulletin

(from a 1980’s Wiser Lake Chapel Bulletin during Pastor Bruce Hemple’s ministry days)
saved by Russ Unrein


A personal quiet time is that measure of time given to meditation, prayer, Bible reading and sharing with god through Jesus Christ. It’s precious time for it is sacred time with God.

The Christian spends this time with god to know his God. “It’s quite natural that if we spend 16 hours daily of our waking life in thinking about the affairs of the world, and five minutes in thinking about God, this world will seem 200 times more real to us than God.” ~Dean Inge

The problem with the average Christian’s prayer life is that it lacks consistency. Yet, a look at Scripture reveals that a prayer habit is essential to power with God. Daniel prayed three times a day from his chambers, David prayed morning, noon and evening. Jesus sought the solitude of the hills for prayer.

God’s fine servants are persons of great prayer.

  • Prayer will make you more like Jesus.
  • Daily prayer will lead to a glimpse of God’s glory.
  • A daily prayer habit will nourish your spirits.
  • Prayer will teach us wise use of our time. Prayer, in the truest sense, does not really take time, it saves time.


Good habits to develop

  • When you awake, let God’s presence fill your thoughts. Successful is the day whose first victory is won by prayer. Holy is the day when dawn finds you on the mountain. Health is established in the morning. The light is brightest in the morning. (Joseph Parker)
  • Find a specific time for prayer daily. We need time for prayer, unhurried time, daily time, time enough to forget about how much time it is. The one who does not make time for prayer will never find time to pray.( S.D. Gorden) World Literature Crusade suggests a minimum of 15 minutes per day. And strongly recommends an hour or more.
  • Use a prayer list. Perhaps your most important list. It keeps before you, needs, concerns, people, projects and causes worthy of prayer. It’s a tool which helps make prayer more intelligent. As you pray for all these specific needs, god’s love for them will; fill your heart.
  • Continue to pray though out the day. Pray momentarily (short prayers) for people who come into your thoughts during the day. Offer praise to God though out the day. Pray immediately for anyone or any cause that has need. The Bible says: “Pray without ceasing.” I Thess. 5:17 it means to pray spontaneously.
  • Spend enough time praying to really meet God.
  • At times pray out loud.
  • Pray for a moment every hour. It will keep you in the spirit of prayer throughout the day.


  • Develop the Prayer Habit.

Daniel was most faithful in prayer.

  • Develop a prayer program.


Praise – 5 minutes

Be Still – 5 minutes

Confession – 5 minutes

Read the Word – 5 minutes

Asking – 5 minutes

Pray for others – 5 minutes

Pray the Word – 5 minutes

Thanksgiving – 5 minutes

Sing – 5 minutes

Meditation – 5 minutes

Listen to God – 5 minutes

Praise – 5 minutes

(complete prayer)


“I looked for a man among them, who would build up the wall, and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land, so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30


  • “ Ye are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and I will walk in them; and I will be their God.” I Cor 6:16
  • “God answers prayer.” Matt 7:8
  • “Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4
  • “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
  • “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Acts 10:34
  • Do everything that Jesus would have you to do. Learn from Him and pray daily.
  • “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matt 6:33
  • Trust God completely. Proverbs 3:6




PERSONAL NEEDS                       FRIENDS, LOVED ONES           WORLD NEEDS